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Albino Tilmouse. On the 29th of July the keeper bere observed an albino greater tit: it was accompanied by a number of the same species, and seemed 10 suffer from their perpetually mobbing it and following it wherever it went.-- John A. Harvie Browon.
Hawfinch breeding al Selborne.-A fine young bawfinch was caught at Newton Valence Parsonage, a mile from hence, on the 22nd of July: it was nearly or quite full grown. I have more than once seen the hawfinch at Newton, and friend Captain Chawner, of Newton Manor, assures me that they often breed there. I see by my notes that “On the 27th of August, 1859, I picked up the wings and some feathers of a hawfinch which had evidently been killed by a cat." There is no doubt about their being perinanent residents about this neighbourhood.—Thomas Bell; The Wakes, Selborne, Allon, Hants, August 1, 1867.
Sparrow wanted in New Zealand.--At a Meeting of the Committee of the Wanganui Acclimatisation Society, held on the 26th instant, it was resolved :—“That a circular be printed offering a premium of £l per pair for any number of English house sparrows, not exceeding one hundred, delivered alive and in healthy condition here or to the Society's agent at Wellington, within eighteen months from the present time.”— Walter Buller, Hon. Secretary; Wanganui, October 27, 1866.
Redwinged Starling near Liphook.-While on a visit near Lipbook, in Hampshire, I saw a specimen of this rare species on a beech-tree in the shrubbery: it was not more than ten or fifteen yards from me, so I was enabled to watch bim distinctly: he was of a glossy black, the shoulders of the wing being red: in his actions be strongly resembled the lits.-W. Jesse.
Magpie with a Yellow Beak.- Returning from a short trip abroad, I am sorry to find that my note of April 10th, which was honoured with a place in the ' Zoologist' (S. S. 757) has caused some misapprehension. One of your correspondents having inquired (S. S. 706) whether you had “ever seen or heard of a magpie with a yellow beak," and you baving replied, “ certainly not,” I ventured to remind you and your readers that such a bird exists in California, and “corresponds remarkably” with that seen in Scotland by Mr. Harvie Brown. But I do not thivk it can be fairly inferred from any expression in my note that I “incline to the belief” that this last was Pica
Picus) Nuttalli, as Mr. Beckwith (S. S. 826) supposes I do. He most justly states the improbability of such having been the case, though be does not mention the possibility (which should not be altogether oferlooked) of the bird baviog been an importation. His suggestion that it had been rubbing a nest is one in which I cannot acquiesce, for several reasons, but on these I need not now dwell. The matter, however, is one of perhaps no small interest. If it be true, as I suspect it is, that species occasionally vary so as to resemble other allied species, the same sort of causes which in America bave produced a permanent race of magpies baving yellow bills may in Europe have produced a single example distinguished by the same peculiarity, and averse as I am to the common and senseless practice of destroying every strange-looking bird observed in this country, I cannot but regret that in this instance Mr. Brown was unsuccessful in securing for examination the object of his wonder.- Alfred Newlon ; Magdalene College, Cambridge, July 17, 1867.
[I think the hypothesis that a magpie would acquire a yellow beak by devouring an egg, or any number of eggs, would be refuted by experiment; I believe the beak would not be thus coloured by yelk of egg: the question whether the bird was an
SECOND SERIES-VOL. II.
escaped prisoner, a voluntary inmigrant or a mere abnormily, must remain open.Edward Newman.]
A Young Cuckoo in the Nest of a Meadow Pipit.-When crossing Crownhill Down, near Plympton S. Mary, Devon, on the 9th of last July, I saw a meadow pipit By up from the common, and soon found her nest, with a very recently batched young cuckoo, perfectly bare of feathers, within it, and on its edge a little live pipit, quite as young, which bud evidently been recently turned out of it. I replaced it in the nest, to see how the occupier of it would act; and the cuckoo soon began to use its utmost endea. vours to eject the pipit. By means of the lips of its wings, which seemed to me to be peculiarly curved (but not having studied the anatomy of young birds generally, I speak thus cautiously) and its hooked tenacious claws, both of which it stuck into the materials of the nest to assist it in elevating its body, with the pipit on it, the cuckoo brought the pipil to the rim of the nest two or three times, and tried to throw it out; but this the cuckoo did not succeed in doing whilst I watched it, for perhaps more than half an hour, on account of the impediments that branches of ling and tufis of coarse grass presented around those parts of the nest 10 which, uvfortunately for itself, it happened to bring its burden. Once the cuckoo jaimed the pipit between itself and a dead stump of ling sticking up outside the nest. So much was the nest enclosed that the only place where the cuckoo was likely to have succeeded in effecting its object was where I found the young pipil at first, and where I have no doubt it bad deposited it. At last I became impatient, as I was losing time I had intended to have devoted to botanizing, but knowing the fate that would befall the young pipit if left in the nest, I considered it an act of mercy to take it out and kill it before I went away, and left the young cuckoo to take its chance in a world wbere unfortunately right is sometimes pot more respected by men than it is by cuckoos.—T. R. Archer Briggs; 4, Portland Villas, Plymouth, August 14, 1867.
Cuckoos al Peckham.--I have to record the capture of two cuckoos at Peckham: the tirst was taken alive, and was offered me while living by Mr. Murray, our talented botanist; 'the second was caught by a cat and brought ine by Mr. Reid, of York Terrace. Both were females. The dales are July 29 and August 1. The cuckoo's note has not been heard here for weeks.—Edward Newman.
Singular Position of a Cuckoo's Egg.–My friend Mr. Herring, the Rector of Fordham, near Colchester, related to me the other day the following pretty little bit of Natural History. In his putting-shed was an old hamper filled with moss, and in this snug spot a robin built its nest, laid and sat upon its eggs. To bis dismay, Mr. Herring one morning found three young ones on the floor of the shed alive: he carefully replaced them, but the next morning they were again on the door, but all dead: on examining the nest carefully, he found it to contain an addled egg and a young cuckoo, whu benceforth remained the sole object of Mr. and Mrs. Robin's care. The youngster was thriving last week.-C. R. Bree; July 9.- From the · Field.
[An exactly parallel case is noticed in White's 'Selborne.'—E. Neuman]
Cuckoo placing her Egg in the Nest by means of her Bill.- As this seems to be a point at present under discussion amongst ornithologists, I can offer eridence favourable to the supposition that the cuckoo first lays hier egg, and then taking it up places it in the nest with her bill. Some years ago I took a cuckoo's egg from the nest of a common wagtail built under the tbatch of our cow-house, but so placed that it was siinply impossible for any bird the size of a cuckoo to have got upon the nest to lay the egg in it.-W. Jesse.
Martins " building-in” a Sparrow.—Mrs. Otway this moruing told me the following anecdote:—While she was staying, a few years since, al Thane Park, in Oxfordshire, sbe often used to amuse berself by watching the industrious martins, just returned for the suininer months, who were repairing their old nests and making new ones. A certain martin's nesi, built under ibe eaves of the house, was taken possession of by an impudent sparrow: the nest was nearly finished, and the sparrow, having laid eggs, was sitting upon them; but the martins, not approving of such an interloper, literally built the poor sparrow into the nest with mud—that is, they closed up the entrance-holes, and the sparrow was suffocated. The above is quite true; several persons can prove it to have taken place. --Alexander Clark-Kennedy; Teddington, Middlesex, August 7, 1867.
Number of Eggs laid by the Swifl: the Swife only perches on ils Nesl.-For the information of Mr. Sterland, who says in his last interesting communication (in the • Field'] that he never found more than iwo eggs in the nest of the swift, I beg to say that I have in three or four instances found three eggs in a nes!, but never four. I believe a surprising fact regarding this interesting bird is that it nerer alights except in its vest. The country people about here say that it cannot rise if it gets on to the ground; but this is not so, for I have put them on the ground several times, and with some difficulty they get from the ground in three or four yards.-W. Parnell ; Crewe. - From the · Field.'
[In the ' Dictionary of British Birds' (n. 337) and in my Birdsnesting' (p. 2), it is stated that the eggs of the swist are two in number; buth statements are made from actual observation by competent observers: it is iberefore most interesting that any naturalist should in three or four instances have found three eggs in the nest of the swift. I may add that I have repeatedly seen the swist clinging to a wall; and during the last summer I captured one with my band in a willow-tree, where it was perched sedately enough, but it was a very young bird, and had probably taken its first fight froin a church-tower close by.-E. Newman.]
Quail nesting in Essex.--A fortnight ago a friend kindly gave me an egg purporting to be that of a landrail taken from a nest of eleven eggs by a farmer, about five miles from here: it proved to be a quail's egg. It having been found in a cloverfield, my friend had imagined it the egg of a landrail. List season or the season before a nest was found on Sir Charles Sinill's estate in the same neighbourhood. W. Jesse ; Maisonetle, Ingatestone, Essex, August 19, 1867.
Squacco Heron at Weymouth.-A living specimen of the squacco heron (Buphus comatus, Gould; Ardea comata, Yarrell) was brought to me on Monday, the Isl of July. It is a mature bird, with the occipital pluines. It had been observed during the whole of the Sunday at different parts of the Fleet water at Wyke Regis, near this town. On Monday it was shot at and wounded only. I tried it with food, and, as all my attempis to make it feed were useless, I sent it on Tuesday to Mr. Leadbeater for preservation. The man who brought it to me states that it was not at all shy, but got very excited at the appearance of a dog, and this I afterwards found to be a fact.William Thompson ; Weymouth.- From the ' Field.
Green Sandpiper near Ingatestone, Essex.-On the 18th of August, while sitting on the lawy, a specimen of the green sandpiper came and hovered over our pond, pot five yards from where I was sitting, but, being frightened by my retriever, as sud. denly took his departure: the whistle was so shrill as to make me start with surprise. -W. Jesse.
Instinct in the Swan.- A few days ago Mr. Drake, of Eton, told me the following anecdote of the swans of the Thames :-A pair of swans had built their nest on the bank of the river nearly opposite the Windsor Locks. They laid some six eggs, and bad begun to sit upon them when Father Thames began to rise rapidly : the swans, fearing that the nest would be destroyed, collected many small boughs and sticks, and were seen by a perfectly reliable witness 10 place them upon the nest and under the eggs, so as to raise them some inches : the river soon subsided, and ibe swans bad preserved their eggs and dest. This is a curious instance of the swan's instinct. Has such a case occurred before within the knowledge of any of the readers of the *Zoologist ?' One of these swans nearly killed a large collie dog belonging to Mr. Drake a few days ago: the swan pushed the dog under water and beat it unmercifully upon the head and back.-Alexander Clurk-Kennedy; 14, Prince's Gardens, W.
[There are a great number of similar instances well authenticated.-E. Newman.]
Lillle Gull, Canada Goose and Spoonbill at Aldeburgh.-1 had the good furtune, on Wednesday, May 22, 10 kill a little gull in the Thorpe Mere, in immature but very handsome plumage: it was in company with several little terns, and tolerably easy of approach : the bird (a male) had been feeding upon the slender dragonfly, so common hereabouts: the fight of the little gull almost exactly resembled that of the little tern. On Wednesday, June 5, eleren Canada geese passed orer the town, going south; two were killed at Orford, but I only heard of them when too late to procure them. For some time we have had a number of the brownheaded gull or peckmires frequenting the mere at Thorpe, and of late the number has very greatly increased : I find they are (June 14) all mature old birds, rapidly losing their peculiar summer plumage. On Saturday, June 15, two spoonbills put into Thorpe Mere, but were so very wary
that no one could get within many shots of them.—Mr. Hele, in the · Field.
Forktailed Petrel at Yarmouth.—A fine male specimen of this bird was shot on Breydon on the 6th of July, and is now in the hands of Mr. Carter for preservation.John G. Overend; Great Yarmouth.– From the • Field.'
Large Salmon in the Severn and Wye.-Some large salmon were taken in the Severn this season: one was caught near Cone Mill, Lydney, about a fortnight since, weighing over forty-two pounds; and on Tuesday last one was caught, at Beachley, weighing nearly fifty-two pounds: this last-named fish was exhibited at Chepstow; it measured fifty inches in length and twenty-seven inches round the thickest part: it was afterwards sent as a present to the Duke of Beaufort. Another fine fish was caught in the Wye, near Tintern, weighing above forty pounds. I believe there bave not been such large fish caught in the Severn and Wye for many years past.- Edward Sweetapple; Cone Mill, Lydney, August 10, 1867.
Allice Shad in Mouni's Bay.-An immature specimen of the allice shad bas been taken in Mount's Bay on a whiffing-dy. This fish is a rare one here, and its taking a bail of the kind named is I believe rarer still.—Thomas Cornish ; Penzance, August 12, 1867.
Rudevisch — Is this little fish ever brought to England, either bottled or as a paste? Reports credit it with possessing a flavour superior to that of the anchovy; but as the only sample I bave ever seca had the misfortune to be put into a butile which bad
previously contained valerianate of potash, it will readily be imagined that my first impressions of it, as a delicacy for breakfast, were not favourable.
Does it occur any wbere except in the Straits of Malacca ?- W. Thompson ; City Club.
Mackerel in the Boulogne Aquarium. I believe that your readers will be interested 10 learn that I bave not only succeeded in introducing the mackerel into the aquarium of this town, but that the specimens introduced bave lived for so long a time under such unfavourable conditions as to enable me to say with certainty that they could, in a properly constructed aquarium, he preserved for the term of their natural lives. There are, in fact, now living in one of the tanks bere three mackerel, one of which was put in so long ago as the 29th of June last, a second came on the 7th, and a third on the 81b of July. These fish were all caught by the hook and line, and were all more or less injured by having had their scales removed in large patches; these injuries are now fairly in course of being repaired, and a very short time will suffice to restore them all to as perfect a condition as they were in before they had the misfortune to swallow the delusive strip of skin, cut from the side of a previously-hooked relation, wbich led to their being placed in so novel a position. Both Dr. Günther and Dr. Couch have expressed great surprise that it should be possible to preserve alive, within the varrow limits of an aquarium, a fish “so truly pelagic" in its habits. My observations here, however, satisfy me that a necessity imposed upon the mackerel by its gregarious babit, by its voracity, and by the habits of the fish upon which it feeds, has been mistaken for a necessity iinposed upon it by its organization. I am led to this conclusion by the fact that the specimens which we have here frequently go through their evolutions, for hours in succession, within a space which does not exceed in extent eight feet by six feet; and this is of daily occurrence, although the aquarium in wbich they are confined bas a length of forty feet, with a breadth of thirty feet at one end and of sixteen at the other.-John Smith, late Keeper of Boulogne Aquarium ; Boulogne-sur-Mer.
[Those Englishmen who have thoroughly studied the aquariums in Paris, Hamburgh, Boulogne and other continental towns, cannot but wonder why we bare not similar exhibitions here. Why should our Zoological Society be so behind band in ibis department ?-Edward Newman.]
NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.
A Summary of the Occurrences of the Gray Phalarope in Great
Britain in 1866. By J. H. GURNEY, jun. London: John
The gray phalarope was formerly so rare or 60 little known in Great Britain that Pennant knew of but two instances of its occurrence, and Montagu tells us he had never enjoyed the opportunity of examining it at different seasons of the year; we learn, however, that Mr. Yarrell had heard of its occurrence in so many of our English counties that he thought it undesirable to enumerate them: still the fact of its occurrence last autumn in such numbers as have been